Posts Tagged With: Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy

Day 2781: Turning around

In my mind, I’ve been turning around the pros and cons of euthanasia for our ailing and beloved cat, Oscar.  Yesterday morning, Oscar seemed so sick that I scheduled a home euthanasia visit for this afternoon. This morning, I am turning around to cancel that visit, because Oscar took a turn for the better yesterday afternoon.

I notice Oscar has trouble turning around without staggering in the morning. In the afternoons, he is turning around before he settles in my lap. And no matter what he is doing, he is still turning around to eat some delicious chicken whenever we offer it to him.

My son is not turning around in his belief that we should not euthanize Oscar. My husband Michael is turning around what he believes is right, depending on Oscar’s behavior.

I’m used to turning around many perspectives in my mind while making decisions, especially difficult ones like this one. With so much turning around, everybody seems a little dizzy, including Oscar.

Turning around to today’s photos, here’s the inspiration for today’s title:

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When I saw that sign yesterday, I thought there was probably no turning around from today being Oscar’s last day on earth.  However, in my life, I’ve experienced and witnessed so much turning around that nothing seems written in stone.

Last week, I witnessed people in my Coping and Healing groups turning around low self esteem by discussing positive attributes.  If anyone had trouble naming what they liked about themselves, the other group members had no trouble turning around to share what they appreciated about that person.

Every time I try to write my last letter from the President for the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, I keep turning around to other activities, like watching musicals on TV (including The Music Man, Bye Bye Birdie, and On The Town).

Here’s a thought that’s turning around in my mind: It’s difficult to say goodbye.

No matter where I am, I’m often turning around to take photos like these:

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In On the TownGene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin are playing sailors showing up and turning around in New York, New York:

There’s a lot of turning around in “You’re Awful” from On the Town, including Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett  turning around the meanings of words:

What thoughts and feelings are turning around for you, here and now?  Consider turning around and leaving a comment, below.

At the end of each post, I’m turning around to gratitude, so thanks to all who help me turn out this blog every day, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2775: Closure

Because today is my last day as President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, I am thinking about closure.

As I wrote in another blog post about closure,

Closure is important, in order to move on.

There is no right or wrong way to do closure.

Closure is challenging, because it brings up old closures, which often relate to losses.

I like to use the term “ending the chapter”, when I talk to people about closure. Somebody, in my office, recently said that in their culture, they use the term “putting the period on the end of the sentence.” I like that, too.

Here’s what I’ve written, so far, about closure in my final letter from the President:

As I’ve thought about writing this, my final letter to you as President of NSGP, naturally my mind has gone to thoughts of closure. (Personally, I don’t like the word “termination”, because that sounds SO final.) As I have learned from my trainings at NSGP (and as I often tell people in my “Coping and Healing” drop-in groups) a good-enough sense of closure is critical in transitions — allowing us to appreciate what we’ve shared together and to move ahead better equipped for future challenges.

In my groups, we often discuss the insufficient and disappointing closures with family members, friends, work situations, organizations, and other important aspects of our life, and how this lack of satisfying closure in important transitions can keep us stuck. During these challenging days, when we might be feeling uncomfortably stuck, closure is especially important.

So what helps with closure? Saying what feels left unsaid.

Naming what you got.

Naming what you didn’t get.

Discarding what is not serving you well.

Later today, I will facilitate a “Coping and Healing” group on a telehealth platform (which I sometimes call “The Home Version of Coping and Healing”). At the end of the group, the participants will hear me, as usual, acknowledge the importance of  getting closure in the “wrap up” section of the group. I will introduce wrap-up by explaining, again, what helps with closure. I will invite discarding “what is not serving you well” by showing this to the group:

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That’s the magic waste paper basket, an important part of my Coping and Healing groups. If you throw something away in the magic waste paper basket, it will either go away or  come back less powerful.  Here’s an incomplete list of what people have thrown away in the magic waste paper basket:

  • self-judgment,
  • self-doubt,
  • difficult people,
  • unhealthy behaviors,
  • negative self-talk,
  • worry,
  • cognitive distortions,
  • pain, and
  • paper.

Do you see closure in these other images?

 

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We’re working on getting  humane closure with our 18-year-old cat, Oscar, who has cancer.

Here‘s “Closure” by Hayley Warner

… and “Closure” by Opeth:

I’ll get closer to closure by quoting this comment from YouTube about Opeth’s “Closure”:

Alex Mercer
1 year ago
The abrupt ending pisses me off. I need closure!!

Alex Mercer needs closure. Do you?

Gratitude helps me get closure, every day.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2743: Good job!

In my good job as a psychotherapist, I sometimes ask new people how they feel about compliments (including encouraging words like “Good job!”).    They often do a good job honestly answering that they have trouble with compliments. I hope I do a good job explaining that

  • they are not alone in struggling to believe and accept compliments,
  • I like to give compliments, and
  • all my compliments are authentic.

When I was doing my good job in person at my office, I would point out the good clock there with the inscription “Show up.  Be Gentle.  Tell the Truth.”  I think that does a good job explaining the process of therapy for both the patient and the provider.

People are dong a good job accepting authentic compliments when they take them in without internal or external protest and simply say, “Thank you.”

I hope I did a good job yesterday capturing these images around me.

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Michael did an incredibly good job creating Shepherd’s Pie from on-hand good ingredients like potatoes, cheese, mushrooms, carrots, corn, and ground turkey.

I have a good many jobs to complete this weekend for my good professional group therapy organization, Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy.  I will try to follow my good advice to somebody else about doing a good job for the organization: “Have fun with it!”  I hope I did a good job conveying that a good job does not have to be a perfect job.

That reminds me of a good saying I heard on the job:  “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  Your Secret Mental Weapon  (found here) does a good job describing how that modern saying derives from these good quotes:

Voltaire: “The best is the enemy of the good.”
Confucius: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”
Shakespeare: “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”

Striving to better this post, I hope I do a good job finding a good enough video.

Here‘s Alicia Keys with her great new song, “Good Job.”

I haven’t done a good job here if I don’t convince you to watch that video of many good workers doing a good job during the coronavirus pandemic.

Good job getting to the end of this post and thanks for reading!

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 2742: Community

On June 13, I am going to be facilitating an online community meeting for an esteemed community of group therapists.

Here’s an online definition of community:

com·mu·ni·ty
/kəˈmyo͞onədē/

1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

As I’m looking at that definition, I’m thinking how important difference and diversity are (not just things shared in common) for enriching a community.

I’m planning on asking people questions during the online community meeting, like

  1. What does community mean to you?
  2. What gets in the way of community for you?
  3. What helps you connect to a community?

I’d also like to share the poem “community” by rupi kaur, which was featured in my previous blog post about community:

when the world comes crashing at your feet

it’s okay to let others

help pick up the pieces

if we’re present to take part in your happiness

when your circumstances are great

we are more than capable

of sharing your pain

Here‘s a video on rupi kaur  from the community of the Sikh Foundation of Canada.

 

Do any of my photos from yesterday relate to community?

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Because part of community is creating a safe enough space for others to participate, what are your thoughts and feelings about community?

I am grateful for all my communities, including this one!

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Categories: definition, group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2593: 2020 visions

My 2020 visions include these:

  • My son Aaron, who has the best vision ( better than 20/20!), will be spending time with us in the USA and also in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • There will be an important USA election in November with winners and losers.
  • Many people will worry about the results of that election, including me.
  • My Coping and Healing therapy groups will help and support different types of people.
  • The Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy (NSGP) will offer a June conference focusing on Diversity and Inclusion.
  • There will be an awesome new President (of NSGP).
  • My new husband and old boyfriend Michael (who is the same person) will make lots of delicious and nutritious meals.
  • There will be unexpected developments in technology.
  • Many pundits will share their visions of 2020.
  • Many of those visions will be  wrong.
  • I will do my best to live non-judgmentally, be healthy, and express appreciation to others.
  • I will share my visions with you daily, here at this blog.

Here are my final visions of 2019:

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New Years Eve with pugs

In that last photo, my 2020 vision (corrected by contact lenses) sees my new husband and old boyfriend Michael, the current and future Presidents of NSGP, the future Treasurer of NSGP, and pugs.

My 2020 visions also include

  • wearing the awesome earrings the future president made for the current president and
  • dancing with my husband to music like this

… and this:

 

What are your 2020 visions?

I also see many 2020 expressions of gratitude to wonderful people, including YOU.

 

 

 

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2582: Celebrating with you!

For the past seven years, I’ve celebrated many things with you, including

Now, I’m celebrating my upcoming marriage to Michael with you!

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That celebratory card is from my thoughtful and celebrated co-workers, who celebrated with me yesterday by giving me these cupcakes.

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I am celebrating with you that cupcake ring, which I might need on Friday since one of the his-and-hers wedding rings we ordered online IS the wrong size, just as I feared.  I like celebrating  mistakes, but some mistakes can be a shock to the system. If I get the wedding ring resized quickly, I’ll certainly be celebrating that with you!

As usual, I’m celebrating with you many moments from yesterday:

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Celebrate good times …come on!

Thousands of people are celebrating with each other on YouTube in the comments for that video, including:

  • celebrating because my mother has now been declared as cancer free
  • When your crush asks you out
  • Passing my exams that I didn’t study for brought me here
  • When you write one word for your 200 letter essay
  • When the weekend comes along
  • IM NOT PREGNANT HELL YEAH!!
  • I was inspired to listen to this song because I saved my neighbor’s cat
  • Celebrating because my brother got accepted into college
  • When they are giving out free food
  • When you successfully make up a “when” joke
  • I finished the dishes. I freakin finished the DISHES!!
  • I WON THE LOTTERY!

Please share what YOU are celebrating with us, in a comment below.

As always, grateful to be celebrating with you,

Ann

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Categories: blogging, celebrating, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2535: Please don’t die

During both of my group therapy retreats this past weekend, people honored and remembered the amazing and beloved Deb Carmichael, past President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy.

After the retreats — which involved some small talk but mostly medium and big talk — I was thinking about all the wonderful friends I have lost over the last few months and I remembered how I’ve been saying to people, “Please don’t die.”

Then, last night at our local supermarket, I saw this:

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Please don’t die, all you people who are reading this. Or, at least, do your best to stay alive as long as possible.

Here are the other photos I took yesterday:

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Please don’t die, Harley and Oscar.

Please don’t die, tigers and other wildlife.  Please don’t die, cousin Lani (who sends me great photos of tigers through snail mail, which is  apparently still alive).

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Please don’t die and use whatever remedies that might help you stay alive.

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Dwell in possibility (following the undying words of Emily Dickinson) and please don’t die.

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Please don’t die and please celebrate every day that you are alive.  YAAAAY!

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Please don’t die, no matter who you are, what you are, or how you say hello.  Just don’t say goodbye.

Here‘s “Please Don’t Die” by Father John Misty.

Please don’t die,  Josh Tillman (a/k/a Father John Misty).

Please leave your undying comments below and please accept my gratitude, which does not die.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2520: Girding and preparing for the day ahead

A few weeks ago, after girding and preparing myself for the day ahead,  I gave a speech at my 45th college reunion where I mentioned this daily  blog, as follows:

Also, seven years ago I expanded my network of friends by starting a daily blog. Every morning, including today, I’ve written about my heart, my son, my passion for the healing power of groups, my song-writing, my cats, my hopes, my fears, this speech — whatever helps gird me and prepare me for the day ahead.

Girding and preparing for the day ahead includes

  • getting in touch with my priorities,
  • observing what is,
  • relentlessly celebrating the small things,
  • awareness of loved ones who have passed,
  • connecting with humans and other creatures, and
  • sharing my photos from the day before.

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Here’s the obituary of Debora Carmichael, past President of the Northeastern Society of Group Psychotherapy, who was such an inspiration and support to me and so many others.

I am girding and preparing myself for a day without the earthly presence of Deb,  friends, family members, and other shining lights who have passed.

Girding and preparing myself includes listening to music I love. Yesterday, when I was walking amongst the creatures and environs around me, I was reminded of a musician I loved when I was young — Jacques Loussier, who played jazz versions of Bach pieces, like this one:

As always, girding and preparing includes sharing my gratitude to all, including YOU.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2498: On the verge of tears

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog post with almost exactly the same title as today’s. 

I wonder if I’m on the verge of tears, here and now, because

  • summer is gone,
  • I’ve lost three close and beloved friends in the last fifteen months (including two within the last four weeks),
  • I’ve been sharing important thoughts and feelings (including tears) with new people (like classmates at my 45th college reunion exactly a week ago),
  • I’m more than half-way through my Presidency of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy,
  • I’ve been providing my Coping and Healing groups for more and more people,
  • everywhere I look I see emotional pain and physical pain in others,
  • even though I invite people to throw away harsh self judgment and other old habits that do not serve them well, that’s much easier said than done,
  • global warming and the world’s political situations scare me to the depths of my soul,
  • I wonder about the future for my son, and
  • I’m so friggin’ grateful to be alive.

I’m on the verge of revealing all my recent photos.

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Yesterday, Oscar was on the verge of having an infected paw because of ingrown nails.  Now he’s on the verge of being back to his usual self.

I’m on the verge of revealing some news about me and my boyfriend, Michael. Can you guess what that news is?

Here‘s “On the Verge of Tears” sung by Patty Loveless:

What puts you on the verge of tears?

I’m always on the verge of expressing my gratitude for all who help me create these blog posts, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 2489: Good as hell

I’m feeling  good as hell today, because I’m facing a day that is full as hell of

  • group therapy,
  • individual therapy,
  • people I love, and
  • the first event of my 45th college reunion.

Yesterday, in a therapy group that was good as hell, our new good-as-hell social work intern revealed that she loves the music of Lizzo.

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I see that Lizzo is in the new movie Hustlers, which is  popular as hell.

Here‘s “Good as Hell” by Lizzo:

I love this good-as-hell comment about that video:

Chazz
1 week ago
I gotta start loving myself, I don’t wanna let Lizzo down

 
We gotta start loving ourselves; we don’t wanna let Lizzo down.

Here are other good-as-hell photos from yesterday:

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Oscar was good as hell last night at the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy board meeting.

Here are some good-as-hell revelations I’ve had this week:

  1. When you’re good as hell, some people (who probably feel bad as hell about themselves) might resent you for that, and
  2. You can reduce the power of people who make you feel bad as hell by imagining them as small and far-away-as-hell from you.

I’m looking forward to some good as hell comments and here’s some good as hell gratitude from me to YOU!

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

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